Fabinho deputises well in defence, Mohamed Salah shines as Liverpool edge Brighton
BRIGHTON, England -- Liverpool responded to their first Premier League defeat of the season with a crucial 1-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
In Liverpool's first league match since the defeat at title rivals Manchester City, Mohamed Salah scored his 17th goal of the season from the penalty spot to earn a massive three points for Jurgen Klopp's side.
Whatever City do on Monday night, Liverpool's advantage at the top of the table will at least be four points. There is no hangover from the defeat at the Etihad as Liverpool found a way to win against a resolute and defensive opponent. Meanwhile, Fabinho deserves a lot of credit for adequately filling in at centre-half in the midst of an injury crisis.
Liverpool did lose their way at one point in this game, which is why Salah's goal was so important. With frustration seeping in during the first half, Liverpool resorted to pumping balls into the box. They were comfortably dealt with by Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy and Liverpool went back to square one. Had Salah not scored so soon after half-time then it may have continued.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Liverpool were well in control of this game and never looked like losing it. That said, more risks probably needed to be taken when Liverpool were struggling to break down Brighton down. Liverpool have never suffered back-to-back league defeats under Klopp, who knows how to get a response from his players.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- So out of the action he had to perform exercises to keep himself warm. Very few saves to make, but some good use of the ball with his feet.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Appeared to pick up an injury during the warm up and looked uncomfortable once the game started. However, he somehow managed to recover and complete the entire game.
DF Virgil van DIjk, 7 -- His 50th appearance for the club and very little was required of him defensively.
DF Fabinho, 8 -- Superb again in the heart of defence for the second game running. He made a crucial block to deny Pascal Gross in the second half. Brighton's Glenn Murray has bullied plenty of Premier League defenders, but didn't trouble Fabinho.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- He was virtually playing as a left winger for large parts of the game and was impressive doing so.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- Helped ensure Liverpool kept applying pressure on Brighton. His physicality and energy levels continue to catch the eye.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- Similar to Wijnaldum. The pair's discipline is crucial when Liverpool are holding on to a lead.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, 5 -- Had the best chance of the first half when his glancing header went just past the far post. He needed to be more involved after that and was hooked midway through the second half.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 -- As he brought up a century of appearances for the Reds, Mane looked like Liverpool's best outlet for an attack in the first half before tailing off.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Incredibly busy and important in an all-encompassing role. Unlucky to not find the back of the net.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- Rather quiet in the first half and then delivered within three minutes of the restart. He won the penalty with some brilliant footwork before holding his nerve from 12 yards out.
MF James Milner (71), N/R -- The perfect substitute to bring on when needing to close a game out.
MF Naby Keita (89), N/R -- Gave away a ball that could have led to a Brighton equaliser. Liverpool are still waiting for Keita to really announce himself.
FW Divock Origi, N/R -- A time-wasting sub.